We’re going to devote this post to taking a peek at the rich visual materials in the Amherst College Dramatic Activities Collection. This is but a very small taste of the large collection of photographs, playbills, costume sketches, set designs, props and recordings of Amherst College theatrical productions to be found in the Dramatic Activities Collection.
While students had been putting on dramatic productions since the very early days of the college, there is little photographic evidence until the 1870s. This is one of the few photographs of a nineteenth century production taken on set; most were cast portraits taken in a photographer’s studio. The lack of adequate lighting is evident in the blurriness of many cast members. This was the first full-length dramatic production put on at the college.
This studio portrait of cast members from The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, produced in February of 1885, features the illustrious Clyde Fitch (reclining).
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was produced in March of 1907. Note the classic Art Nouveau program and the studio background in the cast portrait (click to view larger).